An Aromatic Lenten Sunday Supper

Today marks the fifth Sunday in Lent. Only one Lenten Sunday remains, Palm Sunday to mark the start of the Holy Week before Easter.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption

Always remember in this journey of life that every day is a chance to begin anew, to rejoice in our blessings and to celebrate a day the Lord has made.

Typically we think of dishes that feature apples to be something we make in the fall, during apple harvest. This is especially true if you live not far from a place that specializes in apples such as the Apple Hill Area near Placerville, California. Growing up, we often packed a picnic lunch and made the trek up to Apple Hill. Hubby and I frequented the area when we were first married, but I must admit we don’t find it the same these days. There are a number of reasons. First, the apples are not as delicious as they once were. While I’m not an apple producer, I believe the whole tourist attraction has impacted the apples. There are cars and people all over the hill. At times on the weekends in the fall, it takes several hours just to get through all the congestion and crowds. Many of the growers have turned their orchards into parking lots at the height of the season, and I think this all has in impact on the fruit. I also think apple growing in the area reached its peak a while ago, and it’s time to rotate to a new crop. After all, those apple orchards have been there since the pear blight of the 1960s forced growers to abandoned their pears for apples instead. But I guess as long as the people keep coming, the lure of making a buck at the expense of quality will remain.

Once upon a time, you could get the most amazing apple pies for any number of shops along the Apple Hill Route. These days, while the apples may be grown on the hill, the pies are mass produced. In some cases, frozen pie dough is used. The bottom line is that Apple Hill has lost its charm in an effort to draw throngs of tourists from the cities below.

These days you can get decent apples year round without fighting the crowds on Apple Hill. And since we can get apples in May or March or anytime, we can also make delicious meals that feature the natural goodness of apples. One of my favorite combinations has to be pork with apples. I don’t know why that’s a winning combination, it just is.

Aromatic Pork Chops with Baked Apples
2 medium unpeeled Apple, sliced
4 tablespoons packed Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 tablespoons Butter, melted
4 Pork Rib Chops, 3/4-inch thick
Crushed Rosemary to taste
Crushed Thyme to taste
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Core the apples, slice. Place apple slices in a casserole dish in a single layer. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Melt butter, drizzle over apples. Cover with foil; bake 15 minutes.

Trim fat from edge of chops. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes. Season pork with Rosemary, Thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Cook aromatic chops in hot skillet about 4 minutes, turn and continue to sear another 3 minutes or until light brown.

Place pork in single layer on apples. Cover and bake 15 minutes or until pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees and apples are tender. Remove from oven, turn chops, nestle down into the apples and bake another 5 minutes before serving.

These chops are delicious with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Kitchen Cut Green Beans.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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